The town of Lewes got its start back in 1631 when a little more than two-dozen men from Holland sailed to the New World to establish a whale-oil colony along the western shores of the Delaware Bay. As the fort of Swanendael, or Valley of the Swans, was centralized, a misunderstanding between the colonists and the native people led to the fort's destruction and the colonists' massacre. Given the initial colonization of Swanendael, this allows Lewes to lay claim to being "the First Town in the First State."
By 1682, William Penn was granted the three lower counties that now make up Delaware as part of his Pennsylvania territory. Penn decided to name the southernmost county for Sussex, England, his home province, and renamed Deale as Lewes after the port city in Sussex, England.
The town thrived as people arrived and merchants set up shop over the years. Churches and a courthouse were built as the town grew and became a busy port where ships would restock supplies. Lewes also served as the seat of Sussex County until 1791 when the government was relocated to Georgetown, a more central location.
By the 1960s, the menhaden business bottomed out. The fish that had produced an industry disappeared and the companies that relied on it had moved on. The loss of that industry, as well as a clam factory, marked a monumental change for Lewes.
From 1990 to 2000, nearly 700 additional full-time residents settled in to make Lewes their new home. The population, according to the 2000 census, came in at a little more than 2,900 people.
With nearly four centuries of history, Lewes has been transformed from a community of whalers and fishermen to one that is equally dependent on the sea, but in a much different way. Tourism has helped fuel a 20-year growth spurt in Lewes. Picturesque beach homes have replaced quaint cottages amid the sand dunes, and hardware stores and mom-and-pop stores have made way for bistros and boutiques. The new wave of residents has come seeking a slower paced lifestyle, lower taxes, and the lack of urban crime.
Lewes also remains an east coast port of call and is home to a large fleet of charter fishing boats. It is likewise the base of the Delaware Bay and River Pilots Association, whose members guide cargo vessels to and from the ports of Wilmington and Philadelphia. Lewes is also the site of the University of Delaware College of Marine Studies and is the southern terminal for the Cape May-Lewes Ferry.
Join us at the Library for a week-long celebration of the Bard! Daily events to include lectures, films, workshops, and a concert. The week culminates on Saturday at 7:30 PM with a free outdoor performance of As You Like It by the Brown Box Theatre Project. For more information, visit the Library website lewes.lib.de.us.
More than 20 authors of historical fiction and non-fiction will be featured with presentations & book signings. Multi-venue around the City of Lewes - the First Town in the First State - at the Delaware beaches. Check The History Book Festival website for more information.
Fall in Lewes means the Fall Craft Fair brought to you by The Lewes Historical Society. The 2018 Fall Craft Fair is on Saturday, October 6, from 9:00 am until 4:00 pm at the Historic Campus at Second & Shipcarpenter Streets in downtown Lewes. Admission to the festival is $5 per person each day, to be paid at the gate; children under 12 are free. Proceeds from this event will benefit educational and preservation programs at The Lewes Historical Society. With its wealth of historical sites, museums, unique shops, restaurants and pristine beaches, Lewes is an exciting destination for craft buyers and visitors alike. The Historic Complex consists of numerous historic buildings that will be open to the public. These houses and museums, surrounded by shade-trees and gardens, provide a beautiful backdrop for the Craft Fair. Enjoy festive live music and delicious food. Over 4,000 visitors are expected to enjoy the Lewes Fall Craft Fair this year. The Lewes Fall Craft Fair is well known for the exceptional quality of the craftspeople, including new and returning artists from across Delmarva and the Eastern Shore. The Lewes Historical Society invites the public to celebrate the work of over 70 other talented artisans on Saturday, October 6th, from 9:00 am until 4:00 pm at the Lewes Historic Campus at 110 Shipcarpenter Street. For more details about the Fall Craft Fair or for more information on The Lewes Historical Society, contact 302-645-7670.
|Bob Evans Farms Restaurant||Lewes, DE||302-645-0871|
|Cafe Azafran||Lewes, DE||302-644-4446|
|China Garden||Lewes, DE||302-645-6445|
|Fish On!||Lewes, DE||302-645-9790|
|Fisherman's Wharf||Lewes, DE||302-645-8862|
|Gilligan's Waterfront Restaurant||Lewes, DE||302-644-0723|
|Hing Wang Chinese Restaurant||Lewes, DE||302-645-0889|
|Irish Eyes||Lewes, DE||302-645-6888|
|JD Shuckers||Lewes, DE||302-945-8850|
|Lemon Tree Restaurant||Lewes, DE||302-645-0481|
|Mr. P Pizza & Pasta||Lewes, DE||302-645-1900|
|Pelican Grille||Lewes, DE||302-945-6620|
|Striper Bites||Lewes, DE||302-645-4657|
|Surf Bagel & Deli||Lewes, DE||302-644-1822|
|The Buttery||Lewes, DE||302-645-7755|
|The Wharf||Lewes, De||302-645-6271|
|Tijuana Taxi||Lewes, DE||302-644-8294|
|Tokyo Steakhouse||Lewes, DE||302-645-9728|
|Albert Frank's Fine Jewelry||Lewes, DE||302-645-1718|
|Aquamarine on Market||Lewes, DE||302-644-4550|
|Auntie M's Emporium||Lewes, DE||302-644-1804|
|Back Bay Art Glass, LLC||Lewes, DE||302-645-1825|
|Blooming Boutique||Lewes, DE||302-644-2463|
|Cape Henlopen Wicker||Lewes, DE||302-644-2000|
|Chatelaine's Jewelry||Lewes, DE||302-645-1511|
|Creative Concepts||Lewes, DE||302-645-6200|
|Habersham Peddler Interiors||Lewes, DE||302-645-8383|
|Heritage Antique Market||Lewes, DE||302-645-2309|
|Josephine Keir Ltd- Antiques, Fine Arts & Rugs||Lewes, DE||302-645-9047|
|Kids' Ketch||Lewes, DE||302-645-8448|
|Lewes Gourmet||Lewes, DE||302-645-1661|
|Lewes Mercantile Antique Gallery||Lewes, DE||302-645-7900|
|Mare's Bears Quilt Shop||Lewes, DE||302-644-0556|
|Mugs & Stitches||Lewes, DE||302-360-3600|
|P.U.P.S. of Lewes||Lewes, DE||302-645-9010|
|The Beach Jetty||Lewes, DE||302-645-4606|
|The Furniture Gallery||Lewes, DE||302-645-7043|
|The Soap Fairy||Lewes, DE||302-645-4596|
|The Stepping Stone||Lewes, DE||302-645-1254|
|Trader's Jewelry & Gifts||Lewes, DE||302-645-6536|
|Twila Farrell / The Figurehead||Lewes, DE||302-645-7007|
|Two Friends, Ltd.||Lewes, DE||302-644-0477|
|Very European||Lewes, DE||302-644-7778|
|Beacon Motel||Lewes, DE||302-645-4888|
|Blue Water House||Lewes, DE||302-645-7832|
|Cape Henlopen Motel||Lewes, DE||302-645-2828|
|Hotel Blue||Lewes, DE||302-645-4880|
|Hotel Rodney||Lewes, DE||302-645-6466|
|Inn at Canal Square||Lewes, DE||302-644-3377|
|King's Inn||Lewes, DE||302-645-6438|
|Lazy L at Willow Creek||Lewes, DE||302-644-7220|
|Red Mill Inn||Lewes, DE||302-645-9736|
|Sleep Inn & Suites||Lewes, DE||302-644-8796|
|Sleep Inn & Suites||Lewes, DE||302-645-6464|
|Vesuvio Motel||Lewes, DE||302-645-2224|
|Virden House Bed & Breakfast||Lewes, DE||302-644-4402|